herald

Monday 22 October 2018

Knife-maker Healy cuts to the chase

Cian Healy
Cian Healy

Looks can be deceptive.

It is probably the case for Cian Healy, the quiet air of menace perhaps a front for a shy, creative man.

There was the story told long ago about how Healy told Declan Kidney he loved to paint in his spare time.

The rugged exterior of an international prop forward led the Corkman to conclude Healy was talking about houses rather than canvasses.

Earlier in the year, the 30-year-old shared a new-found passion for making his own knives by carving out one for Nemani Nadolo.

The Fijian was impressed. Why wouldn't he be? The product was beautiful and beneficial.

"It came out of cooking and barbequeing and getting obsessed with what I was using to do it," said Healy.

"I met a knife-maker from Cork, who told me a bit about it, and I just followed on, thought I could do it, and gave it a bash."

The generous nature of the mild-mannered artist gives way to the animal aggression needed for the rugby hardman to move men the size of mountains.

The older, wiser slimmed down version, reduced from 120kilos to 114kilos for 2017-2018, doesn't believe last year was a ceiling in Blue or Green.

Better

"For the last three years, I've felt better every year so I'm only expecting better the way it's going," he stated.

When Healy was struggling to see a way past his career-threatening neck injury in 2015, there would have been long-odds given on the prop being around Leinster after his mate Jamie Heaslip.

Perhaps, the rugby demise of Heaslip and pain of personal experience has taught Healy the value of doing everything he can to hold on as long as he can.

"I came in trying to change the position," he shared.

"I was happy enough the game got faster. It suited me down to the ground.

"The scrum changing was probably a nice thing, no 'touch, pause, engage,' the big heavy lads didn't have a run at me, that suited the way I played."

As the years have rolled by, he has had to use his time wisely for "just the extra time you put into things or not putting the time into things.

"It's knowing when you're body wants a rest or when it needs to be loosened out or when you need to stretch or do more video. Everything.

"It's just juggling your time to be as productive as possible and then have time away from rugby as well."

He is just productive off the field as on it.

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